John Carroll High School (Bel Air, Md.) teammates like to call freshman point guard Immanuel Quickley 'Cobra' because of his ability to memorize defenders when he attacks. And he has been doing a lot of that recently.
Quickley, the 6-foot-3 starting freshman point guard for the 24-1 Patriots, has been doing it at both ends, especially the last two weeks since he was elevated to starter following an injury to a teammate.
One of the area's brightest young guard prospects, Quickley has averaged 11 points per game, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals since sliding into the starting lineup, and plays well beyond his years as a pass-first, 'old-school' set-up man.
We evaluated Quickley (who comes about his hoops skills honestly as mom, Nitrease, played collegiately at Morgan State) two weeks ago, a game against Calvert Hal (Towson, Md.) where he came off the bench to score 15 points. This time, we caught up with him for his thoughts on his rookie campaign at the Bel Air school, as well as his thoughts on the Terps, who he visited unofficially this month for the Michigan State game.
A 6-foot-3, 170-pound long-armed distributor and three-point marksman, Maryland, Duke and Syracuse have been three schools that have jumped out the most early for Quickley, a Havre de Grace native who is already gaining some national attention as a freshman of note.
"It's unfortunate [the reason I am starting given the injury]. But it has been good," Quickley said. "But I am still learning, and it is a humbling experience and I just want to get better every day."
Quickley has poise beyond his years, and said his mother taught him everything he knows and loves about the game. He changes speeds very well, while he is a true "triple threat" with the ability to handle, pass and shoot. We saw him knock down 3 of 5 treys in two JC games this month.
Meanwhile, he has tremendous vision and feel for the game, and while not an amazing athlete, his length, vision, anticipation and especially his high basketball IQ make, up for any lack thereof. For just a ninth-grader, and now starting, he's one that doesn't get rattled.
"My style is I am a pass-first. But I can also score when my teammates need me to. So I can do a little bit of both, while my defense is getting better," Quickley said.
His mother played at Have de Grace High School, where she was a small forward.
"She taught me everything I've known since I was a little kid, so I definitely get my inspiration from her," Quickley said. "She says have fun, keep working hard, and always take care of your grades first."
As for that visit to UMD this month, which he attended with his aunt, Quickley said:
"Oh, of course [I have been following Maryland]. I have had a lot of fun watching them this season. Seeing Melo Trimble, he is only a freshman and he just had like 24 [points] last game. But they are winning big games on the road, the home crowd is so loud, so it is a lot of fun watching them. It was great, definitely a live crowd, and I just had a lot of fun. And seeing the team play together....that win was huge.
"And growing up, I always liked Maryland because they were close," he continued. "But last year....I have been a Syracuse and Duke fan as well because I like watching them play, too. So those are some of the early schools that [jump out so far]."
Like many locals, especially lead guards, Quickley said Trimble's game resonates a lot with him.
"It's kinda my style as well. I can relate to his game and style the way he plays as a pass-first guy who also can shoot," Quickley said.
Obviously it's a bit early for offers yet, but of late he has received letters from Virginia, Clemson, Kansas State and Purdue.
Quickley gets after it in the classroom as well, with homework always first in his household, while this past year he played with Baltimore Elite AAU.
"Definitely getting bigger this summer [is my goal]," he said. "But right now I am just working on defense, rebounding, moving off the ball, little stuff like that. My offense is going to come together, but things like defense and rebounding are key."
Quickley went for 17 points versus Glenelg as his scoring season-high so far, while he has had a few 6-assist performances.
John Carroll's lone loss was at McDonogh by three points.
Quickley Talks Freshman Role, Terps
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